Chase Insufficient Funds Fee: The Final Chapter

For those who aren’t familiar with my recent financial saga, I’ll give a quick recap. For the full story, click on the links below.

August 27 – I deposit an escrow refund check from Taylor, Bean, & Whitaker into my Chase checking account.

August 29 – The funds show as available, so I transfer the money to my ING Direct savings account.

September 3 – The check from Taylor, Bean, & Whitaker bounced. Upon further investigation, Taylor, Bean, & Whitaker is in trouble and the bank that drafted my check has been told to cease & desist operations. 8 transactions come through my Chase checking account with insufficient funds. I talk to two different representatives from Chase, each telling me a different amount that my account will be charged in fees. The supervisor tells me I’ll be charged for 6 transactions at $25 each, and she’ll credit back $70. That’s what I plan on. I also contact TBW, who say a new check should be in the mail soon.

September 4 – Chase charges me a total of $204 and credits back $70. One more transaction goes through with insufficient funds, because I’m charged more than I was told I’d be charged. I talk to a 3rd representative from Chase, who tells me that I’m being charged $34 for the first 6 transactions, because I’ve had insufficient funds in the past (which is categorically untrue). I also fire off (nice) emails to three Chase executive officers. As of yet, I have not heard back from them. I call the FDIC, who seem to have no idea what is going on with TBW and the escrow accounts. They take my info and say they’ll get back to me.

Talking to Chase Bank Personnel in Person

Yesterday, September 7, I took my kids into our local Chase branch to see if they could do something for me. After giving a brief explanation to the teller, as well as a copy of a newspaper article explaining what happened to TBW and the bank that issued my check, I was nicely told to have a seat and wait for help.

After a few minutes, I talked to a Personal Finance Rep about my issue. She was very kind and sympathetic, but said I would have to talk to the people at the actual branch that my account resides. She gave me a couple of names and phone numbers for the Roseburg, OR branch and sent them an email to ask them if there was anything that could be done for me. She told me that it’s up to the individual branch as to how many charges they can reverse, because it’s the individual branch that takes a loss when reversing charges.

When I got home, I called the Roseburg branch. I was told by the assistant manager that there was nothing that could be done. I asked to talk to the manager. The manager called me back and said that she couldn’t do anything, but she would forward my information on to the district manager. Finally at 3:30 yesterday afternoon, the Roseburg manager called me back and told me that they’d credit back another $70 for a total of $140, and that’s the best they could do. I thanked her, checked my account, and the money was there.

The Bottom Line on the TBW/Chase Fiasco

  • I was charged $238 in insufficient funds fees for 9 transactions.
  • I was charged at $10 NSF fee for the escrow check that didn’t clear.
  • I was finally told that in Oregon, the fees are $34, not $25.
  • Chase credited me back a total of $140
  • My total loss out of pocket is $108.

My Final Thoughts on This Experience

I’ll save an in-depth analysis for next week, when I put together a series about finding a good bank and watching out for bank fees. However, I do have a couple of thoughts.

First, I’m grateful that I’m only out $108. I don’t like it. I don’t like that I was initially told that I’d only be out $80, and Chase didn’t follow through on what I was told. But they didn’t have to cover any of this, so I realize I’m fortunate.

I’m not grateful enough to remain with Chase for my banking. After experiencing these awful fees and Chase’s inflexibility first hand, my heart goes out to people who have to deal with this and don’t have any type of cushion. In my opinion, their fee structure is very predatory. I can easily see how someone with no emergency fund could have their life completely messed up if this happened to them. I’m not talking about someone who recklessly bounces checks. But someone like me who incurs these fees through no fault of their own. It’s inexcusable, again, in my opinion.

The newspaper article I found said that Platinum Community Bank was finally seized by the FDIC and replacement checks should be going out soon. Hopefully I’ll have my $1200 in escrow funds in a week or two, and I can go about the business of moving my checking account.

Lest you think that all banks are as inflexible as Chase, tomorrow I’ll be posting a story similar to mine that took place at a different bank…with much different results.

So what do you think? Am I doing the right thing in changing banks? Should I have kept fighting for that last $108?



Author

By , on Sep 9, 2009
Lynnae McCoy I'm Lynnae, wife of one and stay-at-home mom of two. I'm committed to getting out of debt by being frugal with my choices in life.

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{44 Comments}

  1. cee jay:

    Hey Guys,

    I also have several bad experience about Chase Insufficient fund charge? For funding $2 expenditure in debit card with insufficient fund, they rip $35. There are several instances like these. Is there any suit against Chase for unfair practice? Its high time all valuable customers move out of this customer enemy bank.

  2. Volko:

    I agree what has been said above
    Liz September 9, 2009 at 5:22 am
    … You might also mention that the best form of advertising is “word of mouth advertising” and what kind of advertising does Chase think you will be doing.
    And I am in advertising, I know how to “save” my clients and friends from this thing.

  3. Volko:

    They have gone insane this bank!!!! I made a mistake by charging my card too much, and I got minus. This is not a problem. I called to Customer Service, thanks for this blog, and refunded my money $64. Intresting stuff happened after that. I still had -$67 in the bank , and I asked the banker if I will be charged any fees till monday sept. 27th , she said no! I was happy with this answer, because I couldn’t deposit money until monday. Today on sunday, I am checking my account and what I have got??? I got $96 in one fee. Right away I called to customer service, I talked to Banker and he told me that i need to talk to another person about this, and he can refund me only $6. So then they transgered my call to one of the “big people”. The lady was already informed about me and knew what was happening. I told her that I have received wrong information from the banker and because of this I got THE SAME DAY (september 25th) charged more money! She was saying that she can’t do anything about it and it was my mistake that I have made purchases on 24(I got the fee on 25th), the same thing over and over again. I know that those phone calls are recorded for the “quality and something purpose”, I have asked her if I can hear my phone conversation with that lady, so they can see it was their mistake. She told me that she cannot help me with this. So one more valuable customer got tricked. I am in advertising, and I was planning to open two businesses with them and after that I will think about changing the banks. I will talk to banker on monday and see if I can get through them access to that phone call and hear all the truth. I have already had problems with this bank, but I was letting go those times. I will do my best to get this straight. If they did this to me it is $96, they will do this to 1000 people , it is $96 000, not bad from the fees and “mistakes”. I will be changing banks sounds like really soon. I am planning to talk to a lawyer and see if this can help. I am going to get this to the end. Be carefull with this bank, this will not do any good. One day they will get you! Let me know what you think about this.
    Sincerely

    Volko

    • Lynnae:

      Ugh. Sorry to hear this happened to you. I think my biggest complaint is that the phone reps can’t give a straight answer. I was honestly ready to suck up the $80 in fees I was told I’d have to eat, but then I got charged more. And nobody could tell me why. I kept getting different answers.

      I realize that banks can charge whatever fees they want, but at least train your customer service reps to explain the fees correctly, so a customer can properly fix their account in an emergency.

    • assshley:

      i am having the same thing happen to me right now it is ridiculous.

  4. Keith:

    Ive read all yous stories and it just makes me mad that Chase is making so much money off of people he have no choice but to keep their account close to zero. We are the ones who can’t afford this!!!

    Can we make a class action suit against the bank for unfair practice?

  5. Thomas Davis:

    Hi I had deposite my money to my account on sept 21 it said that my account was to the postive but they still hit me with the insufficient funds for $210.00 so I called the bank and they said that i couldn’t get a refund because the last one I had was not in 6 months. I feel that the bank is making more money off of use then where making in a year on the Insufficient funds fee and that is wrong especially with are Ecomny today.

    • Keith:

      I hate chase! read my comment #33

  6. David Dunn:

    I had an account at WAMU for about ten years. I had overdraft protection on the account. Then our friends at Chase took over. I’m still at a loss at just what the hell happened but I went online to check the amount of my pay check and found the account to be overdrawn by $177. I flew down to my branch to do a little investigation and found out that the problem was easy to explain, 21 nsf in six days. My “overdraft protection” must have got lost in the suffle because she had no record of it. I closed my account. I closed my savings account and she gave me the balance after deducting the $177 in their “fees” I left the bank with a ” I’ve just been raped” feeling. Two weeks went by and I loged on to the website to see if I could get my last statement and low in behold my checking account had risen from the dead. A mericle!!! I call them up an ask how can this be? They say they can’t close an account if there is a balance. I told them there is no balance. I paid them what they said I owed them and closed it. end of story. He said well maybe not. Sally Mae had sent a request after I closed the account and it was returned unpaid. He said Sally Mae resummited the request three times. Three times returned unpaid. I guess Chase charges $34 to write return to sender on the envelope. My balance is now $-360 and counting

    • Volko:

      I understand how this feels, read my post

  7. Keith:

    I just got screwed by chase for 7 fee’s at $35 each! I have been running to a branch last couple of days to make deposits and my account has been positive and I asked and was assured that i will not get charged any fee’s. This morning I checked my balance and I was negative over $250 for insufficient funds!!!!!! I have receipts of all my deposits but they have some random pecking order of what transaction goes in first! well it’s not random, they like to put the bigger ones first and then charge you fee’s for each small transaction once you are over drawn! what pisses me off is that I made sure and made multiple cash deposits! I asked the branch manager and he assured me that all is fine! now I am unemployed and I dont know how I will eat for the next week because Chase is making all the money from the poor people!

    • Thomas Davis:

      Right and what make it so bad is that they can get away with it that was part of my rent and I told them that and it was like o wel but right know Im trying to find someone to help me get my money back any help

  8. Sam:

    Not to be bank bashing however Wells Fargo & Bank of the West rearrange the order of the checks too. & I know 2 people whose ACH deposits were processed over 24hrs after their payday causing their bill pay items (that were scheduled to go out on payday) to bounce.
    So anyone that uses those two might want to be careful too.

    None of us ever plan for an acct to go negative however mistakes happen. I’ve transposed numbers when I’ve balanced my check book & gotten close to being hosed.

    My local bank sent me a letter about 2 months ago that for $35 per item they will allow my chg acct to go over without anything getting returned – no interest on the NSF amt if I get the account current within 30 days. To deny the service I have to write a letter requesting the service removed from my acct so, it was something they did to all chckg accts as a “value added service”.
    I keep debating if I should cancel that service – I can see both sides to it though.
    I always keep everything balanced & keep a small buffer amt in that acct just in case I mis-balance or forget about a check but if I ever do have a big “oops” this service would keep things from getting returned…. so then I’d just have to deal with the banks involved (not apologize to my after school sitter & pay any returned chck fee’s she experiences). However at $34 a piece that could rack up fast if there’s ever such a problem.
    It kinda turns the chckg acct into a payday loan if ya aren’t careful – at least from my perspective.
    I just don’t get banks anymore. They used to be based upon savings & now they seem based upon fees.

  9. I was reading that some banks will actually reorder charges in order to incur more overdraft charges than would normally occur. For example, say someone has $100 in their account and they spend $25, $25 and $108 (in that order). Only the last one should bounce and get the fee, right? Some banks will reorder the charges so the $108 would come first and then all three will bounce. I’m not saying we should all go around bouncing checks—but it does seem more and more banks are becoming predatory.

    • Lynnae:

      That is true, and Chase is one of those banks. I know from experience. :)

      I watched a video on the subject yesterday (I’ll link to it in my roundup tomorrow for anyone that’s interested), and the banks say the reason is that their customers want it that way. They’d rather have the mortgage payment clear and the $5 trip to the grocery store not clear.

      I’m not convinced that’s true though. With overdraft protection, it doesn’t really matter, because all charges will be paid, and then the fees will be passed on to the customer. So the only real difference that clearing the biggest check first makes is that it increases the charges on the customers, as you said.

  10. karri:

    you absolutely need to change banks! find a nice local bank, and give them your business. when companies (including banks) misbehave, we should not continue to give them our business. you are to be commended for keeping at them like you did. take it from someone who worked in banking for years, your bank has no obligation to refund fees (that were not their fault)…but they are obligated to act professional and not hassle the customer. giving the customer the total run-around is inexcusable. banks forget that they are working for the customer–sometimes they act as if it’s the other way around. in my opinion, you can’t find a small local bank and move there fast enough.

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